Things are heating up in the Waikato’s information technology sector at a series of monthly curry nights.

Waikato information technology professionals, led by Company-X director David Hallett, are adding spice to the region’s reputation as the Silicon Valley of New Zealand by catching up over a monthly curry.

Hallett, as chairman of the Waikato branch of the Information Technology Professionals New Zealand (ITPNZ), hosts the monthly Thursday Night Curry events at the Royale Indian Restaurant in Cameron Rd, Hamilton East.

“It’s a strictly sales spiel-free zone,” said Hallett. “Although we’d love to hear how the Waikato branch of the IT Professionals NZ can further support IT professionals in the Waikato.”

It’s also an ideal event for keeping up-to-date on the progress of the many IT Professionals projects, such as the Hamilton Tech Talk Unconference held on November 28.

“An unconference is a participant-driven meeting,” Hallett said. “Chairs are set in a large circle, and this is the extent of the organising work. That was a chance for IT professionals to discuss ideas, issues or opportunities with other participants by grabbing a marker and writing their topics and names on a Post-it note, and sticking it on the board.”

It took about 10 minutes for the organisers and participants to come up with a two-hour agenda of unconference sessions, with each one titled, hosted, and scheduled by somebody in the group.

“IT professionals can just come along to Thursday Night Curry and catch up with others working in IT in the Waikato region,” Hallett said.

Regulars include colleagues from his Wintec House, Hamilton, based software specialist firm including fellow director Jeremy Hughes and project manager Claire Sherrington.

Sherrington said the monthly curry nights offered great learning opportunities, whether you were just starting out in IT or had years of experience.

“It’s good to talk to IT professionals working in other industries other than your own, and hear how technology is an enabler for those industries,” Sherrington said.

“I’d love to see more women in IT joining me for this.”

Technology is used in just about every industry from local and central government, healthcare and transport to agriculture, manufacturing, security and sport.

“It’s also good to hear from those who have just left university and are just starting out in the IT world, as well as those who have enthusiastically embraced a new job in IT.”

Other regulars include E9 general manager Mehrdad Behroozi and E9 designer Aida Khangoli. E9, also based at Wintec House in Hamilton, is a graphic design and web development company that is a sister business to Company-X.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for people in the IT industry to catch up with others involved in the same business as them, as well as other branches of the IT industry,” said Behroozi.

“I keep going back because it gives me an opportunity to meet other IT professionals around Hamilton while learning and sharing knowledge and information. As cheesy as that sounds, it’s been an incredible provider of learning for me. It’s priceless.”

Thursday Night Curry happens on the first Thursday of every month, except January, at the Royale Indian Restaurant in Hamilton East at 6.30pm.

Register on the IT Professionals website or by emailing no later than the day before.

The cost is $20 per head for an all-you-can-eat curry dinner, which includes numerous curries, entrees and naan bread all served directly to your table.